2012 men’s lacrosse season preview

Bill Paterson

Justin Criado, Asst. Copy Editor

  The Robert Morris University men’s lacrosse team will enter the 2012 season with a new head coach for the first time in program history. Former associate head coach, Andrew McCinn, was tabbed the new leading man by Director of Athletics, Craig Coleman, M.D., last September.

  McCinn is no stranger to the Colonials as he spent the last six seasons serving as an offensive assistant under former coach Bear Davis, and was the man behind a Colonial offense that led the nation in scoring in 2010 and 2011. Last year with senior Trevor Moore anchoring the offense, RMU averaged 13.8 goals per game.

  Much like Davis, McCinn has a very team-oriented, effort-based philosophy.

  “Rather than having results-based rules or having our record get better. We’re more so emphasizing every single day to find ways to push above and beyond what we’ve done previously to improve the program on a day-to-day basis,” McCinn stated in a preseason interview.

  The Colonials 2012 schedule features three ranked teams in No.5 Denver (Feb. 26), No. 19 Colgate (Mar. 3) and No. 12/14 Bucknell (Mar. 20). Last season, the Colonials upset then No. 17/18 Bucknell, 7-5, in a thrilling night game at Mt. Lebanon High School, which is McCinn’s alma mater.

  McCinn expressed in his preseason interview that non-conference scheduling is one way for the Colonials to gain national recognition by scheduling prominent non-conference opponents.

  RMU lost top-scorers Moore, Corbyn Tao-Brambleby and Dane Smith to graduation last year, but bring back two top midfielders in All-American Kiel Matisz and All-NEC Kyle Buchanan.

  “We run a democratic system with the way that we approach things offensively,” McCinn explained. “We really have a system based upon equality where everyone gets touches and everyone gets opportunities.”

  The Colonials will rely on returners such as red-shirt sophomore Taylor Graves and junior Tyler Digby to contribute. Manning the pipes will be redshirt junior Charles Ruppert, who earned a 9-6 record in his first full year of starting.

  “I think he’s done a good job making it an easy transition because he knows the team so well and has been a part of the program for so long,” said Digby. 

  RMU was picked to finish third in the most recent NEC Preseason Coaches’ Poll behind defending champion Mt. St. Mary’s and perennial contender Bryant. The Colonials dropped a close one in Emmitsburg, MD last year, 12-11, while taking care of Bryant, 16-15, in Rhode Island.

  In an epic double-overtime game, the Colonials’ season ended with a 12-11 loss in the semifinal of the NEC Tournament to Quinnipiac.

  “Expectations as a team are to treat every day the same and let all the hard work of practice be the determinant of how well we do,” Digby expressed. “But we feel we can play with any team in the nation.” 

  The 2012 NEC slate starts Mar. 31 at Wagner, the first of five straight conference games to end the season. Before then, RMU opens the year at Bellarmine Saturday Feb. 11 before returning home Mar. 3 to take on No. 19 Colgate.

  “We’re just trying to make sure we bring everything we possibly can to the table,” McCinn concludes.